Excellent References+ Excellent Interview But SSAT 73% Score

My daughter is applying to to Middlesex and a bunch of other schools that are considered hidden gems here. She had three interviews so that were scheduled for 30 mins but ended up lasting about 45 mins. AOs were very impressed by interview performance and all of them wanted her to seriously consider applying to their respective schools. She does participate in various extracurricular activities and clubs and her references are excellent. Things were looking good until we receive the SSAT scores which put her at 73%. Should we submit her SSAT scores considering that it is optional this year?

What was the breakdown of scores? Was any area greatly lower than the others?

Here is a breakdown of the scores:
V - 713 (75%)
Q- 716 (69%)
R- 680 (66%)

I don’t think those scores are helpful and I wouldn’t submit.

Can she take the ssat again?


I agree she should retake if there is time, it’s a hard test. For Middlesex, I don’t think these scores will help, but for the other, unnamed “hidden gems” they may be OK. I would go school by school and see what the average SSAT ranges are.

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I see quite a few of the hidden gems do not ‘require’ the test scores. Maybe just skip the test and work on all the rest materials?

I personally think these standardized test is very hard to improve in a very short time. But maybe math is a part easier to crack in and get more scores?

Yes, that is the plan considering the fact that test scores are optional.
Thank you for your comments.

Thank you for your comments. We are considering CA, BUA and Brooks. Interview with those schools went great. There is no enough time to retake the test. We plan to focus on the essays.

Tests are optional and spending time on essays seems more of a priority. Good luck!

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I don’t think those scores add another to an otherwise good application so I wouldn’t submit if it’s optional.

Agree with not submitting assuming all are test optional. If you do have any schools where tests are required, you could have her take again in January or February — score does tend to go up naturally second time around and she could easily up in mid 80’s without additional study.
That said, last year my daughter didn’t take the SSAT and it was no problem at all — schools that say they are test optional really are. (Year before that my other daughter got 80 on her SSAT and got in many “tippy top” programs so scores aren’t everything.)
Final thing: not at all to minimize how much the interviewers I’m sure enjoyed your daughter — most AO’s really love meeting enthusiastic kids — I would not read too much into interview length or encouragement to apply. The AO wants you to apply — it’s really part of the job. That’s not to say they are faking liking our kids but just don’t confuse this encouragement for any kind of good sign.


If the overall score is >85th then it meets the threshold for being high enough. But a 73rd percentile will make them wonder. I wouldn’t submit. Get a tutor and retake. Higher score might help later if she gets waitlisted.

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Here is the thing… Just because the AOs seem like they are impressed, wanted her to seriously consider applying to their respective schools, and extended her interview time doesn’t mean the interview was excellent. I have friends who had this type of interview, great essays and extracurriculars but didn’t get in. However, your applying to lesser known schools, so their experience is probably quite different than yours.

The application review is a random process (in a probabilistic sense). It is not easy to generalize the admission process based on your friend’s experience. There are so many factors that goes into determining acceptance! I found not positivity in your comment! Other said the same thing your tried to say with some positivity - they told us to manage our expectations!

I concur with your assessment of that post, I just could not find a nice way to say it.

Your list includes solid schools that are by no definition “safeties”.

Pre-COVID I asked a CA AO specifically about a 69th percentile math SSAT score, and how it is viewed, in the context of a student who consistently earned A+s in the highest level math courses offered at their [low performing] public school. I was told that such a SSAT score would not be considered a red flag in that context, although it would be considered a red flag if the applicant attended a private school that had SSAT prep as part of their curriculum.

Good luck!


Sorry if I seem very negative in my post. I just wanted to remind the user that they shouldn’t be too confident. Sorry if it seemed like I was criticizing them.

adikaba is the original poster of this thread.

That you are unfamiliar with the schools that their child is applying to is your loss.

Sorry for the confusion. I wasn’t aware at first that adikaba was the original poster. Also, I am familiar with the schools that their child is applying too. All I said was that the hidden gem schools are probably very different compared to more known and competitive ones. By no means did I mean that I am unfamiliar to those schools.

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Hidden gem schools are no different than any others in the admissions process. The AOs are looking for kids who will thrive there and trying to create a class that meets all the school’s goals.